Wednesday 25 November, 2020

‘Seriously’ Speaking: What ticked off Buju Banton?

A screen grab of Buju Banton in his recent anti-mask wearing rant on video.

A screen grab of Buju Banton in his recent anti-mask wearing rant on video.

 Dancehall star Buju Banton cut a frustrated figure this week when he expressed his dislike for the face mask-wearing protocols that have been put in place nationally to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“We waan done wid dis mask-wearing bullsh.. inna Jamaica. Who fi dead ago dead and who nah go dead, haffi jus live. We tired of you intellectual fools trying to tell us how to live our lives. You are so smart, why you haven’t found the cure for cancer?” he declared in one of three Instagram videos uploaded on October 21.

The singer sounded as though he was at his wit's end with the constant mask talk, curfews and Government-mandated lockdowns, and called on the people of Jamaica to stop wearing masks.

But Buju's harsh Darwinian 'Survival of the Fittest' take on pandemic life did not go down well with the general public, especially since he has been selling branded masks and sanitising merchandise through his own e-commerce website.

Jamaicans hate hypocrisy and, interestingly and somewhat weirdly, seem to feel that there is a special circle reserved in hell for all gays, hypocrites and goat thieves, but will any day hail a certified murderer as a celebrated ’wicked man’.

They thus lit up Buju on social media. Some unkindly made jokes about him being possibly involved with a 'white lady', and loosely suggested that he seemed to have been babbling like an addict on a two-pipe high.

Others suggested that he is - oh horror of horrors - a Trump supporter, and even went as far as to suggest that one of Gargamel's new hobbies must include reducing the world's population by a couple million or so.

Me? I just think he was high. Watching him spew those ganja-scented words, with his eyes wide, dry and fixed - those were eyes of a man who may have forgotten how to cry.

Buju Banton hasn't yet lost anyone really close in this pandemic. And I hope he never feels that pain.

The infectious COVID-19 virus has claimed over one million lives globally, while infecting over 40 million people. In Jamaica, the total number of positive cases was 8,714, with 188 deaths up to Saturday afternoon.

The resurgence of the virus in Europe has pushed the Spanish government on Sunday, to declare a national state of emergency that includes an overnight curfew, in the hopes of not repeating the near collapse of the country's hospitals.

Researchers say people are more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack during the COVID-19 pandemic because many aren’t going to the hospital after experiencing symptoms of heart trouble.

The anecdotal stories one keeps hearing about scarred lungs and breathing problems make this a scary disease. In local parlance, "dis COVID-19 thing well serious bredda".

So for Buju Banton to make such cavalier statements about masks is highly irresponsible. It's a good thing that people don't put much stock in what some rastas say anymore as many stray and even expound with fervour on their secret ‘evil lives’, including cuts from pigs and bacon, and even supposedly ‘deviant’ sex.

Statements like Buju's ill-conceived rant are the very reason that rastas have lost much credibility and authority in modern Jamaica.

Maybe he is just frustrated over money, the thing that everybody wants.

Before this respiratory disease nixed concerts, he was pulling in a cool US dollar figure per show, so that changed reality would drive anyone crazy.

But it should be noted that while entertainers want to abdicate their sense of social responsibility, they still want us to go to their concerts and buy their merchandise.

In Buju's case, fate seems to be playing a series of extraordinarily unamusing jokes at his expense. His errors of some sort caused him to be incarcerated for a decade and then a year after he gets out, here comes a global pandemic.

Sheez! It makes you wonder if he proverbially 'stole someone's white fowl'.

The year 2020 has been a true ‘annus horribilis’ with much social upheaval and death. This year's hurricane season has involved so many storms that the hurricane centre has turned to the Greek alphabet after running out of official names. This is while COVID-19 is surging in the US and Europe, but thank God, President Trump and others say we have nothing to fear.

But unless we stop the virus, the financial picture will not improve. Why? The people, including Buju, are the economy, stupid!

So in the meantime, let us all as Jamaicans continue to play our parts in flattening this curve by continuing to wear our masks and practising social distancing. Follow the protocols that are in place to protect not only your life, but the lives of your loved ones and fellow citizens.

And tek time wid Buju, hear?

Be safe.

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